God is so very good to us. He has given us the Good Shepherd, who is Jesus Christ, his son, and he has also given shepherds to watch over and to encourage his flock. This is what scripture says in Jeremiah 3:15: “‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.’”
Why Pray for Pastors and Church Elders?
God has called certain people to lead his sheep. There are people graced to pastor and cover the Lord’s church. It is so important that we pray for our pastors in this endeavor. It’s so easy for us to see pastors and think because of the position they hold, that they do not need prayer. There is a misconception that they know how to do things that the average Christian does not, or that they do not have their own trials and tribulations.
I would encourage you to remember that because of the calling on pastors’ lives, they are even more vulnerable and susceptible to tests, temptation, and burn-out. We, being the sheep, should always be interceding on behalf of our leadership and covering them in prayer. We should be watchful for and with them.
"Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching." (1 Timothy 5:17)
In my church, my pastors give so much of themselves to the body. They give up their time outside of church to counsel and mentor people in their walk with God. They give up their personal resources in order to make sure that the church members have their needs met. They also spent time and effort, sacrificially as they pray and fast in order to teach the unadulterated word of God with power and anointing.
There is a special grace that pastors have been given to care for God’s people. It is a heavy burden to carry – one with tremendous benefits, although, one that is very costly.
Our pastors are flesh and blood. They are people, just like you and me. They face many of the same problems and struggles that we face, yet, they are tasked to rise above and to live their lives at a higher standard than the rest of the church. Scripture tells us this about those who teach the word of God: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (James 3:1).
This is an intense amount of pressure! And because of the times we are living in, I believe that the pressure is even more exacerbated for pastors to cast and pursue the vision God has given them for their specific church and community.
Let’s pray for our pastors on a consistent basis. Let’s cover them fervently. We do not know the battles that they face. Many pastors do not share half the things they go through. Let’s give them grace, honor, and support through prayer whenever we can! Here are 5 specific ways to pray for your pastor:
Pray for the Gospel to be in your Pastor's Heart
It can get easy to get tied up in theological knots or start emulating the hippest or most knowledgeable pastor that everyone listens to on podcasts. Pray for the gospel to soak your pastor’s heart — that he would be moved intellectually and emotionally by Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection on his behalf and that this would fuel his leadership and preaching.
Pray for Unity in your Church
As you pray for all the newcomers on Easter Sunday, pray that God would help them to go to church the next week. Introduce yourself, invite a young mom to a church mom’s group, or ladies' event. Pray for the body of believers to be united behind the message of the gospel. In our church, we regularly pray against a spirit of dissension, knowing that God alone builds his church and keeps his people in unity (Col. 3:14).
Pray for Good Friends for your Pastor
Being a pastor means that your pastor is up to his elbows in the sin and muck of people’s lives and trying to point them to Jesus. It also means that he can’t unburden this information on others. Pray for good friends to come alongside him and help hold his arms up (Ex. 17:12). Pray for friends where he can be fully himself and not just “the pastor.”
Pray for your Pastor's Family
A pastor isn’t super human, he’s a husband and father (most often) and needs prayer that the demands of his job don’t eclipse his other roles. Pray that he and his wife would have date nights (and maybe help babysit or get them a gift card!), that they’d have times and days to unplug as a family, and that the gospel would characterize their home life and not just be something he preaches about on Sunday.
Pray for your Pastor's Rest
In the lead up to Easter, your pastor has a ton of plates spinning — not just services and details, but also planning out the church calendar, counseling, vision-casting, and preaching more during Holy Week. Pray that God would sustain his body and soul, that he’d stay healthy and choose exercise and sleep when he can. Pray that after the busyness of Easter, he’d take some time off to recharge and remember God’s goodness to him, knowing that the plight of the church rests not on his shoulders but God’s.
~ Adapted from "How to Pray for Your Pastor" by Ashley Hales
A Prayer for Your Pastor
Our Father who is in heaven, Holy is your name. Lord, I thank you for your righteousness, strength, and wisdom. Lord, I know that you have called every single one of your children for a specific purpose and that you have graced them to walk in that purpose. Father right now, I lift up my pastors. God, I thank you for the vision that you have given them for our church. I thank you that I get to be part of the community in which you are building. I ask that you send your angels to cover and protect my leadership. Give them strength, power, and understanding to teach your Word and to do so in a way that drives religion out and brings your relationship with you back as the center point.
God, I pray that my pastors would operate in wisdom when it comes to counseling and assisting your people. Give them wisdom the way you gave Solomon wisdom so that they would know how to lead your people justly and rightly. Lord, surround them with relationships with people they can trust and can be accountable to. Surround them with people to encourage them in your way. Lord, we know that pastoring is not an easy endeavor, so, grace them all the more to do the work of the ministry for which you have called them.
God, give them peace, strength, and let a refreshing fall over their hearts so that they can continue to go forth in your power and might. Finally, Lord, give them clear direction and revelation about the direction for this church. Protect them from those who would desire to harm them and steer them off course. Give them sharp discernment. Flow prophetically through them Lord, so that your Holy Spirit would make manifest the glory of God in their lives, in their relationships, and in the church that you are leading them to raise up.
God, thank you for my pastors and the sacrifice that they give for my spiritual growth and maturity. I love and honor my leadership Father. Thank you for leading me to them. In Jesus' name, I pray, amen!
Prayer for Pastors from the Bible
The apostle Paul knew first hand the difficulty of ministry and gives us wonderful guidance when it comes to praying for pastors. Let's use these prayer requests from Paul to pray over our own pastors!
In Ephesians 6:19 Paul tells us to "Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel."
And in Colossians 4:3, "And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains."
Prayer for Pastor & Church Unity
God, help our church body to walk in a manner worthy of the calling You have given us. Help us in all our interactions with one another to have humble and gentle hearts. Grant us patience for one another, bearing with one another in love. Grant the Body of Christ unity. May we walk humbly with You, God, allowing You to show us our wrongs. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Let's lift up our pastors and church leaders daily - they are in the heat of the Battle as Satan tries to destroy their testimony. We have the power to speak protection, love, and care over their lives!
Britnee Bradshaw is a free-spirited, Old Navy-wearin', coffee-shop lovin', wife and momma. She serves in the worship ministry with her husband at their home church in Glendale, AZ, and writes with the sole purpose of pointing others to Christ. You can catch up with her on her blog, On The Way Up, or via social media @b_brdshw!
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Ben White